The location: Crawdad's Restaurant.
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A sign reads "Crawdad's family style
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
In Bon Temps, Louisiana.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 5, of Season One: "Sparks Fly Out".
After (temporarily) swearing off Bill, Sookie agrees to go out on a date with Sam Merlotte - who has been harboring a crush on her for years, and has finally worked up the nerve to ask her out.
So, after Sam escorts her to the "Descendants of the Glorious Dead" meeting at the church (to hear Bill speak), they go on to have dinner at a small cafe in Bon Temps called "Crawdad's".
We first see them dining inside, sharing a piece of key lime pie, as Sookie tells Sam that his thoughts are different than most people's, which she finds mysterious. She asks about his past, but he is defensive, and doesn't reveal much.
When she jokes about being crazy, he defends her, saying he likes her just the way she is.
Later, we see them coming out of the restaurant, where they kiss for the first time.
But she suddenly breaks it off, and tells him that she finds it uncomfortable to be kissing him so soon after kissing Bill. That makes Sam jealous and protective, and when he begins warning her of the dangers of a getting involved with a vampire, Sookie's temper flares.
She abandons poor Sam in front of the restaurant, and calls a cab to take her home (where she finds her grandmother dead).
Q. What is it actually, in real life?
A restaurant, but not in Louisiana.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. This small cafe is located just two blocks east of the "Descendants of the Glorious Dead" church.
In real life, it's called Poncho's Place, a Mexican restaurant at 3944 Center Street, in Piru, CA.
is located in an old-fashioned storefront in historic downtown Piru (next
to a former bank building), on the south side of Center Street, between
"U Scream Ice Cream" and "Fina's Meat Market"
(near the southeast corner of Main Street & Center).
Here is a photo, shot by Timothy Swope, looking west down Piru's Center Street, with Poncho's oval sign visible:
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. I had never even heard of Piru, but fortunately, I was given one huge clue in the scene.
Look behind Sam, when he's getting back into his truck (after Sookie dumps him), and you'll see a hanging sign next to the cafe that reads "U Scream Ice Cream" (reminiscent of the childhood saying, "You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream").
earlier in the scene, if you look closely, you can read the number 3944
above the door of "Crawdad's" cafe.
You can see both signs and the number in the (slightly blurry) blow-up of the scene below:
On the chance that "U Scream" might be an actual business (and not just a studio-created prop, like the Crawdad's sign), I googled for "U Scream Ice Cream" and immediately found a listing for it in Piru, CA. Aerial photos and Google StreetView then confirmed that it was the same old brick building seen on "True Blood".
And just like in the scene, it was right next door was a restaurant - named Poncho's Place, with the address of 3944 Center St.
so little of the building is shown, my guess is that they came to Piru
to shoot the church meeting (and for the town's general old-fashioned look),
and decided to also shoot the restaurant scene in Piru while they had the
(Discovering the Piru location of the cafe in turn made it possible for me to locate the church.)
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